Play2Speak: Helping to Reach Language Fluency Goals Faster

With the changing world, technology is progressively marking its presence in most of the industries. Education is not an exception and companies like Play2Speak have come up with brilliant immersive learning experiences in order to change the face of education. The organization’s product helps students in practicing to speak fluent English by putting them into conversational experiences.

In an interview with Insights Success, Giuseppe Fantigrossi, the CEO of Play2Speak has shared some of his insights behind setting a benchmark in the education industry.

Give a brief overview of the company, its uniqueness and its vision.

Play2Speak is a Spanish EdTech. Our vision is to bring immersive learning experiences to students. We want to shape the future of education because we believe it needs to be changed. Play2Speak’s unique use of technology focuses on mixing virtual experiences with Artificially Intelligent (AI) conversations to allow students to improve their second language.

What are the cutting-edge products/solutions offered by Play2Speak?

Our product helps language learners practice to speak English in Virtual Reality (VR) by immersing them into conversational experiences. If going to England is the best way for you to speak contextual English, then we bring English experiences to YOU.

You simply put on a VR headset and start talking with our virtual characters. Throughout the activities, you get feedback on your progress, and by the end of the experience, we provide scores on your ability to: speaking, listening and reading.

Our conversations are powered by an AI engine, made of cognitive services to give you the illusion that you are having a conversation with our characters. This is very important, because the fear of embarrassment when talking to native speakers is a real problem. Many learners have to overcome this in order to become more fluent.

Give a detailed description of your influence over the company and the industry.

My main quality is persistence! I won’t quit, and that passion is felt by the people around me. I live and breathe Play2Speak, day and night.

I have knowledge of the language learning field, as I know 4 languages and have studied French and Spanish, over the last 7 years. In addition, I know how to motivate people to follow us. At one point, we were 18 people, working in hopes of making a great product.

Describe the experiences, achievements or lessons learnt that have shaped the journey of the company.

In the beginning, we needed to be seen. It didn’t matter if we had a finished product or not: visibility was one of our strategies to make opportunities happen for us. So we applied to all sorts of events, conferences and competitions. This allowed us to meet key people in the education industry and shape our company to what it is today.

Lessons learned: Move faster! This is the number one gripe I had with the way I worked. As CEO, you have to make tons of decision, many times without all of the data. How to approach this? Create and fail fast! If we had to start over with what we all know today, we would make shorter iterations of the experience and get to market faster. Also, we would include an accredited learning institute from the very beginning of the game development!

What are the challenges faced while providing innovative solutions and how is Play2Speak serving to tackle them?

The major challenge facing VR is the hardware issue.

We made our first experiences for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. It is visually pleasing and done in a way so that the user does not get sick. The issue is schools and academies don’t want to pay 1000€+ for a VR solution!

How are we tackling this? by making our full experience for the standalone headset, but usable on the other ones too, like the Vive and the Rift. This new headset will cost about 200€, won’t need a computer or mobile to play, and will be at a great price point for schools and academies to invest in.

What according to you could be the potential future of your relative industry and how does Play2Speak envision sustaining its competency?

Virtual reality and augmented reality will be the two technologies which are going to become mainstreamed in most schools in 2 years’ time. Until then, we will be looking to partner with major educational editors and institutions. This will allow us to adopt and use current methodologies for learning English. Also, we will have an option to convert other languages within our software. Will Chinese and Spanish be a language we support, we believe so.

Source: The 10 Start-Ups with Innovative Solutions in 2018